'Tis the season of pumpkin spice, fall foliage, and ankle boots. And while fall is amazing for many reasons, it does suck for one major reason: the flu. That wouldn't be a big deal, considering we have a solid line of defense against the virus, but it turns out many of us aren't taking advantage of it. According to a survey by CityMD, an urgent care network, more than 42 percent of all Americans are not planning to get a flu shot, according to Bloomberg. The primary reason? High costs. So where can we go to get free or low cost flu vaccines?
There are a number of options, and they're accessible to just about anyone. Locations include local government offices and even small companies, who have invested in vaccine programs to keep their employees healthy, productive, and flu-free. According to researchers, it's in companies' and governments' best interest to help prevent the flu, because the annual economic burden of the virus is a whopping $87 billion.
So it's smart for any business that can afford it to offer as many flu vaccines at the lowest cost possible, so as to encourage the highest number of people to actually get the vaccine. That means less days taken off work and less time spent in hospitals due to complications from untreated flu viruses. So it makes sense why an increasing number of establishments are offering free or very inexpensive vaccines. Read on to find out where you can get cheap and free flu shots for yourself and the family.
1. Stores Like Target, Walmart, Costco, & Sam's Club
Costco and Sam's Club offer flu shots for under $15 for the standard vaccine. You also don't need to be a member at either to get the flu shot. The price is about $10 to $15 higher at Target and Walmart. But the great news is that these stores accept most insurance plans, which would completely cover the cost. So if you go to one of these stores, it's likely you won't have to pay anything. Just make sure to give the store a call and ask to speak with a pharmacist to make sure you'll be covered.
2. Pharmacies Like Walgreens, CVS, & Rite Aid
Similar to Target and Walmart, these drugstores offer shots starting at $30. Pharmacies like Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid can sometimes carry low quantities and may not accept all insurance providers, so it's best to call your local store before showing up for the shot.
3. Your Employer
As I mentioned above, companies are increasingly starting to offer free flu vaccines to employees. Ask your employer if there's already a program in place, or if they subsidize the cost for flu vaccines in some other way.
4. Free Clinic Or Physician's Office
Search on the National Association for Free & Charitable Clinic's website to find a free clinic near you. Or, if you have insurance, the flu vaccine should be fully covered at your physician's office under the Affordable Care Act.
5. Local Health Departments
County health departments in some states, like New York and Pennsylvania, are offering free flu shots. Just look on your state or county's health department website to find out if your county is offering them.
There are a lot of options when it comes to free and cheap flu shots. All you have to do is do a quick local search or phone call to make sure you, your family, and your community stay healthy this fall.